Selling your home is a team effort. You carefully pick each player, filling the various positions with professionals including a real estate agent, a home stager, a professional photographer, a mortgage broker and a moving company. Each plays a key role in making sure the sale of your home is done smoothly and efficiently.
But what if one of those team members isn’t quite what you thought?
Fraudulent moving companies were the focus of a recent episode of CBC Marketplace. By going undercover and carrying out a hidden camera investigation, Marketplace is discovering some of the scams that fake or fly-by-night moving companies are carrying out on unsuspecting Canadians.
Movers’ Scams Uncovered
Marketplace uncovered a slew of dishonest tricks used by some less than honest movers. Some homeowners were charged after the fact with unexpected fees for flights of stairs, heavy items or a “long walk”. Others were scammed on moving day morning, being told they had pay large cash deposits on the spot or the work would not be finished. Some homeowners were threatened with having their possessions held hostage or dumped if they didn’t comply. Many reported their items were damaged by movers.
Increase in Complaints
The Better Business Bureau or BBB reports complaints about moving companies are increasing. In the last year alone, the number of complaints has gone up by 13 per cent. Movers were ranked fifth overall in number of complaints at the BBB.
Lack of Regulations
Unfortunately, there aren’t many regulations to protect Canadians from shady moving companies. Currently, Canadian movers are not required to be licensed or follow industry specific rules or standards to operate their business. In 2010, Toronto police successfully shut down a ring of moving companies whose members were allegedly intimidating and extorting their clients. After police involvement in the matter, Toronto City Counsel attempted to introduce licensing requirements for moving companies. The province, however, refused the request and has not allowed the new licensing program.
To see what happened during the undercover operation, Marketplace’s Movin’ Day Showdown episode is available here.